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High contrast flash card images for baby 0-6 months

Newborn visual development: babies prefer high contrast images because their visual system is still developing. They can find it difficult to distinguish between similar colours such as red and orange. The hard contrast of black on white (or any strong colour) therefore stands out well. Here’s some simple images to try out. Read more on visual development here.

 

high contrast shapes cards mixed

Download & print for free: High contrast images, newborn & baby, visual images, 0-6 months

high contrast shapes cards mixed sheet 2

Download & print for free: High contrast images, newborn & baby, visual images, 0-6 months

 

 

How to play with a newborn baby (0-3 months) – what and why – psychology and research


What, how and why to play with your newborn. Really interesting psychology behind newborn play and what's important
As I approach the 5th month with the new baby (already!) I was looking back and thinking of the ways that we “played”. There’s a lot of time in the day so how can you play with baby and what can you do all day long? Well, apart from nappy changes, sleeps, screams, baths and other practical “stuff”, here’s some ways we played together and some of the psychology/research behind activity ideas:

 

SOUND – COMMUNE

Talking:

Face to Face time is a GREAT way to play. This means simply being face to face with baby and having a chat. You can talk about anything; something that you did that day or just make certain sounds with some over the top mouth-moving to show how you’re making it, like B-B-B-B-B-B, OOoooo.

 

→ → → Talk in a funny voice!

Talking is important but it’s a case of Quality, not Quantity

Talking in “parentese” – that baby talk that we do, characterised by higher pitch, slowed down and exaggerated intonation (6) – might irritate some but apparently it has it’s benefits; slowing speech down and exaggerating sounds, also introducing that “sing song” element to the voice is something babies like. It works well with very young babies according to this article who report that prevalence of baby talk with children (in one to one conversations rather than in groups) was linked to better language development,

The more parents exaggerated vowels – for example “How are youuuuu?” – and raised the pitch of their voices, the more the 1-year olds babbled, which is a forerunner of word production.

 

When the babies were 2 years old, parents filled out a questionnaire measuring how many words their children knew. Infants who had heard more baby talk knew more words

Singing:

Again, communication is paramount so singing counts too. Apparently, from day one babies have an ability (innate) to discriminate rhythmic patterns. See this interesting article from Psychology Today for more but in sum, you can start in utero – around 25 weeks of pregnancy the baby starts to process auditory signals – which is why newborns may prefer their mother’s voice, because it is quite familiar to them!

 

Reading:

Reading from birth is a great thing to practice, and has benefits. See my reading page for more in-depth information on the psychology of reading with babies and small children. In brief, baby will recognise their mother’s voice from the womb (1) and hearing it from day one may be familiar and comforting to them, reassuring them of your presence (2).
When we read we usually read with different expression and voices than when we talk and books/reading materials contain different vocabularies, words, expressions than what we might use in every day talk around our children. This is useful because it exposes the child to more varied language and sounds.
Reading to babies from the early months has been found (3) to be related to increased reading with babies at 8 months old (creating a reading habit), which in turn, related to language abilities at 12 and 16 months, particularly with expressive language (being able to put thoughts into words and sentences).
Interaction when reading has also been highlighted as an important element in relation to language development (4) with older babies (12 months).

 

TOUCH

The importance of touch: how what and why to play with newborn 0-3 months

Touching feet

Touching hands, touching feet – we did a lot of this in month one, mainly because his little feet were so cute. The baby and I are due to take part in a research study soon at a Baby Lab about whether infants in the early months can distinguish between a social touch and other touch. This will involve monitoring activity and touching baby’s arm with a toothbrush and then touching by hand.
Skin to skin is recommended and touch is going to be important! Research has reported increased touch to facilitate growth and development (cited in 5). Research on benefits of touch with premature babies has also influenced procedures in some hospitals such as use of “kangaroo care” where the baby receives skin to skin contact being held upright against the bare chest of the carrier (5). There is a huge wealth of literature out there about importance of touch and skin to skin with babies and infants which I encourage you to read further if this is an area of interest to you.

 

Sensory play

We also did lots of sensory play such as touching soft toys, a range of textured material and letting him touch/kick his little feet on some crunchy sounding tissue paper.Sensory play idea for newborn and 0-3 months - kicking tissue paper. The psychology of newborn play

 

SIGHT

  • Mirroring, including mirroring noises and chatting, having a conversation

  • Face time

  • Tongue talk

  • Copy Cats

How, what and why play with your newborn: stick your tongue out at them! Baby-Brain.co.uk

Nurrr

We spent a lot of time sticking our tongues out at each other! Given baby’s limited communication channels, this was something he was able to do and I sat there and “Mirrored” him, i.e. copying what he was doing and sticking my tongue out in response to him. This then turned into a kind of “conversation” where we would take it it turns. I then threw a few more facial expressions in and tongue clicks which seemed to interest him. This early study (6) writes that babies between 12-21 days old are able to imitate facial gestures, so you can try it from the first few weeks! Also loving the pictures in that article of the baby imitating “mouth opening” and especially the “lip protrusion”.

 

High contrast:

High contrast black & white images with baby - what how why play with newborns and 0-3 months

In terms of visual aspects and development, the visual system is not yet fully developed at birth (a). Baby has difficulty distinguishing between similar colours such as orange and red and so prefer high contrast colours such as black against white. We used several “high contrast” images and resources such as a black and white book and flash cards.

 

 

Let’s Face It

Face time your baby! The importance of talking with newborns and psychology of interaction

Who’s there?

Babies love looking at faces; even in the days after birth a baby will prefer to look at images of a face compared to other images. YOU are their favourite play thing and baby will be very interested in staring at you whilst you sing/talk/coocheecoo at them.

YOU are your baby’s favourite play thing!

Mirroring and attachment:

Here’s a good video about “marked mirroring” with your baby. The page has described it nicely so I’ll just quote here:

Facial expressions that help a baby to know his feelings are understood are known as ‘mirroring’. Mirroring is said to be ‘marked’ when the parent mirrors the emotion then quickly ‘marks’ the interaction with a reassuring expression. Mirroring shows the baby that he is understood and reflects the feeling he is experiencing.

 

The’marking’ helps the baby know the feeling belongs to him and that the parent understands but is not overwhelmed and is therefore able to help him or her to manage such feelings.

(Warwick Medical School, 2014, http://www.your-baby.org.uk/early-interactions/marked-mirroring-showing-they-understand-their-babys-emotions).

 

Home activities: Tummy Time, Mirror Play, Play Gym

Mirror play with baby: What why and how to play with newborn and 0-3 months

Who’s looking at you, kid?

Tummy Time, play in the mirror and play gym were some fun and easy activities we tried at home. See links for more information on these activities. Play gyms for example have some great cognitive, visual perception, grasping and reaching skills, gross motor skills, self-awareness and sensory stimulation benefits as summarized in this nice article here by Mama OT. Personally, I could really see the baby developing in terms of gross motor skills, coordination and crossing his midline to reach out and grasp at toys.

 

Getting out and about

At first I remember it seeming very daunting and difficult on a practical level to get out of the house. Add two kids to the mix and there seemed like even more obstacles and things “to do” before we could get out the front door. However, there are many benefits and aspects for parent and child including social and mental health elements. Here’s a page about choosing activities and benefits of them for maternal mental health.

 

Lastly: Enjoy this time with baby!

Kicking tissue paper fun! Sensory activity with newborn baby and 0-3 months. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Wheee!

 

 

References:

  1. Decasper AJ, Fifer WP. Of human bonding: newborns prefer their mothers’ voice. Science. 1980;208:1174 –1176.
  2. Lariviere & Rennick (2011). Parent picture-book reading to infants in the neonatal intensive care unit as an intervention supporting parent-infant interaction and later book reading. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 32 (2),  pp 146-152.
  3. Karras, J. & Braungart-Rieker, J. (2005). Effects of shared parent-infant book reading on early language acquisition. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 133-148.
  4. Julie Gros-Louis, Meredith J. West, Andrew P. King. The Influence of Interactive Context on Prelinguistic Vocalizations and Maternal Responses. Language Learning and Development, 2016; DOI:10.1080/15475441.2015.1053563
  5. Ardiel, E. L., & Rankin, C. H. (2010). The importance of touch in development. Paediatr Child Health. 2010 Mar; 15(3): 153–156.
  6. Ramírez-Esparza, N., García-Sierra, A., & Kuhl, P. K. (2014). Look who’s talking: speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development. Developmental Science, 17 (6): 880–891

a) Brémond-Gignac D., Copin H., Lapillonne A., Milazzo S. (2011). Visual development in infants: physiological and pathological mechanismsCurr. Opin. Ophthalmol. 22, S1–S8.

 

I think the “newborn” (well, 12 week old baby) is teething!

Is my newborn teething? Signs and symptoms of teething. 12 week old baby chewing on his hand

Chewing on his hand

So i’ve got it into my head that maybe the “newborn” is teething; he’s actually now 12 weeks old and probably not newborn any more, though.

I thought this from around 10 or 11 weeks. Why? Well he’s chewing on his hands a lot and this behaviour has increased in the last few days. He’s slightly more drooly but that could just be from the increased sucking and chewing on back of his hand. I think that i’ve seen something that could be teeth under his gum, but i’m not 100% sure. My first-born, now nearly aged 2, got his first tooth around 4.5 months, and never looked back sprouting all his teeth apart from the back molars by the time he was one (here’s a link to all the teething posts from the first time around).
Of course, it might not be teething at all, afterall it feels a bit early. I’m looking carefully around the space his bottom front teeth would be as they are apparently the first to come in according to sources such as the NHS on teething symptoms and how babies’ teeth emerge.

Teething symptoms

Some teeth grow with no pain or discomfort at all. At other times you may notice that the gum is sore and red where the tooth is coming through, or that one cheek is flushed. Your baby may dribble, gnaw and chew a lot, or just be fretful.

(NHS; link above)

 

As their teeth erupt, some babies may become fussy,  sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and fever are not normal for a teething baby. Prior to tooth eruption, the gingiva [baby-brain does not know what this is] may appear bluish and swollen as a result of a transient hematoma. In rare cases, an eruption cyst develops. The tooth will eventually rupture this watery sac as it pushes through the gums….

(pg 116; Gugwad, S., Bommanavar, S., & Garud, S. (2012) Teething: A Relook. Int J Dent Case Reports, 2(5):115-120)
baby newborn teething 12 weeks chewing on hand

Baby with tooth

So how long do I have to wait and see if it is a tooth, or not?

Tooth eruption takes place during an 8-day window that includes 4 days before tooth eruption, the day of eruption and the 3 subsequent days

(Markman, 2009, cited in Memarpour, 2015)
Read more on “tooth eruption and teething in children” here
Other references:

 

Mission: Find a double buggy for baby and toddler – the shopping continues

The quest continues: Mission double buggy for newborn baby and toddler. Reviews of tandems and side by sides. Mission Double Buggy – the quest continues
Had an epic journey to one of those mega-out-of-town-style-baby-stores. Involved two buses, a newborn(ish) and a toddler. Toddler was rather unhappy on the way home because he’d only had 1/2 hour nap. Parents were rather unhappy on account of lack of food and the whole experience. Anyway, looked at some double buggies. Here’s what I found…

 

  • Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler: some buggies have weight limit of 15kg per child!

    Beware: For the lighter child only!

    Lot’s of them don’t take children heavier than 15kg (apparent average weight of a 3 year old) and as mentioned before my 22.5 month old is approaching 14.5kg so this rules out many buggy options. I was really disappointed that the Baby Jogger City Mini Twin Pushchair (pictured) has the 15kg limit because it was recommended to me plus I see it everywhere so it must be a popular choice.
  • I wasn’t the only crazy parent to take a tape measure out buggy shopping with me. I was measuring the width of a buggy and some bloke who was also looking at the buggy whipped his tape measure out and did it for me.
  • Shop staff don’t really know how to fold/unfold all the models and umm and arred a bit so not sure I have 100% confidence in what they said

 

From the buggies that accommodated the heavier child:

The iCandy - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

The iCandy

The iCandy:
Pros: The size attracted me. It manoeuvred well; it was smooth and easy to turn with my giant toddler perched on the top seat. It wasn’t too long (which can happen when you have two tandem seats) or wide.
Cons: BUT, when I tried to tip the pram as though I was going over a kerb or getting onto a bus it was quite an effort because the toddler was weighing down the front of the pram. Lowering the handle bar only made this more difficult. Puts me off a bit.
 It folds nice and small but unfortunately you have to take BOTH seats off to fold the frame. So is this a one handed easy fold? – basically, no. I’m not sure I can take two seats off whilst grappling two small children. Other disadvantage is it’s pricey. You not only have to BUY THE SECOND SEAT, but have to buy the adaptor to fit it on AND a carry cot for a newborn because the main seat does not lie flat enough. A bit cheeky.

 

The Mountain Buggy Duet

The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5 - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5

I’d had my eye on this from doing a thorough search online. It seemed great on the whole. The seat looked a little snug perhaps for the toddler but I measured it and it was a similar width to other seat units so I don’t know why. It folded very simply but is fairly large compared to the tandems when folded. I’d read reviews that it can pull to the side of the heavier child but I didn’t find this too much (although I could definitely feel where the heavier child was) and it was possible to turn and push with one hand (wouldn’t say it was 100% smooth and easy to do this though; my single buggy is definitely better at one handed turning). All in all, fairly liking this option.
It’s slim! – I lined my current single buggy up and the mountain buggy wasn’t that much wider (pictured).
The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5 - folded and width - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

Mountain buggy duet folded and look how slim it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil & Teds 

Phil and Teds "Vibe" - Baby and Toddler seating positions - Mission to find a double buggy/stroller/psuchair review. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Seating positions on the Phil & Teds

I think this was the “Vibe”. They also had the navigator at the store.
Pros: it folded down easily and small. It’s slim for a double buggy (65cm wide) compared to side by sides, but the mountain buggy duet is only 63cm wide so this kinds of contradicts my “slimness” point, I suppose. It pushed well, until I put the weights in it (you can get a 12kg and 9kg weight to put in the seats to mimic the weight of a child) and then it took a bit of effort to move.
Cons: As above, didn’t move as well as i’d liked once the weights were in (my toddler was off somewhere else at this point and he’d had enough of buggy shopping). You have to remove the seat to fold it.
I’m not sure I like the seating configuration (pictured) where the newborn appears to go into this “pouch” under the toddler’s seat. His head would be right by my legs. I’d have to be careful not to walk into it. The toddler seat in this configuration also only takes a maximum 15kgs. I’d therefore have to hope he stays around 15kgs until the baby is old enough to move into a toddler seat at the bottom of the pram al-a traditional Phil & Teds style (you can zip the pouch up and it zips up and away under the top seat). Then the toddler seat on the top takes up to 20kgs, the bottom seat 15kgs.
Despite all this – I’m keeping my mind open about Phil & Teds

 

In conclusion:
  • All the double buggies I saw have their pros and cons
  • It’s difficult to weigh up which pros and cons are better/worse and it depends on the combination for each buggy. Looks like I can’t have everything I want
  • Buggy shopping is a pain – I thought I sorted this already with my first buggy!
  • I want to look at the Phil & Teds “Dot”  because this is apparently smaller and lighter than the other models
  • I want to look at the Mountain Buggy +one, which is a tandem style configuration also suitable for newborn + toddler, and later converts for 2 toddlers. I have seen one in a grocery store when I stopped some poor bloke in the aisle to ask him loads of questions about it.

 

The quest continues…

 

 

Newborn eye tracking/following object and visual development

Newborn visual development - how eye tracking develops in the early weeks. Baby-Brain.co.ukBaby eye tracking at nearly 8 weeks – My baby’s brain is developing!…

Here’s a video of the baby tracking an object at nearly 8 weeks old (video on facebook) 
Notice how much smoother it is than a previous video I took aged 5 weeks (also on facebook). His eye movements are less jerky and smoother; this occurs around 6-8 weeks of age and develops further over the coming months.

 

“Visual development progresses rapidly immediately after birth and continues to be fast during the infant’s first year of life…
…In particular, the capability to detect motion direction and to smoothly track moving objects is considered as an important part of the attention mechanisms. Smooth eye-tracking movements are essential for focusing gaze on moving objects. In the newborn infant, eye tracking is mostly saccadic [jerky] but at 6–8 weeks of age, the capacity to track objects begins to develop and smooth pursuit reach a level almost equal to that of an adult at about 4–5 months of age in term infants. The development results in precise smooth pursuit that predictively stays on the moving object…
For development of smooth pursuit, it is necessary that the functioning of the human medial temporal complex area in the cerebral cortex has developed“. (1)

 

(1) Strand-Brodd et al. (2011) – Development of smooth pursuit eye movements in very preterm infants. Acta Paediatr. 2011 Jul; 100(7): 983–991.

 

Mission: Find a double buggy for the newborn baby and toddler!

My quest to find a double buggy has begun…

 

Quest to find a double buggy for a newborn baby and toddler!

Mission, impossible?

 

I have spent hours, no possibly days online looking for double buggy options for a newborn and heavy toddler. I have learnt quite a lot as well; there are “tandems” (one seat behind the other), there are side by sides, and something called a “sit and stand”. Unfortunately, my toddler at 22.5 months is extremely heavy at over 14 kilos and I have discovered that a lot buggy brands have a maximum weight limit per seat of 15 kilos. This seems to rule out many of the the cheaper, slimmer and more dinky looking options. I am therefore left with a few options, and some don’t seem suitable for newborns. Also, some of them are massive monstrosities that I can’t possibly imagine getting around on the bus and train/tube with. I need to test them out properly in-store with the right weight limits, i.e. my toddler and baby sitting in them. Slightly concerned the toddler would make the pram pull to his side given the massive weight difference between him and his brother, or topple it over?!

 

What I need:
  • Something suitable for newborn that lies flat or takes carry cot attachment – but converts into toddler seat later
  • A toddler seat that takes over 15kg with room for him to grow for at least another year
  • Not too wide or long so that we’d fit through regular doorways, shop aisles, onto a bus, train, other transport
  • Easy and quick fold (some doubles you have to remove the 2nd seat before you fold it, which will be difficult with a baby and toddler to keep an eye on, plus ain’t nobody got time for that either)
  • Good steering and manoeuvrability so I can get around shops, on and off public transport, have a free hand for holding umbrella, shopping basket, toddler’s hand for when he wants to get out and walk

 

In my quest I’ve gone as far as taking discreet photos of double buggies whilst out in the playground (as in the main picture above) and running after random people in the supermarket to ask them questions about their buggies! I was in the store the other day and saw a bloke go past pushing a certain double buggy i’ve had my eye on online. I said to my toddler – “is that a mountain buggy +one I just saw go past?!” in an unnecessarily over-excited tone… why yes it was, so I cornered the poor bloke and started to ask him loads of questions about his buggy. Embarrassingly, whilst talking to him, a woman who i’d already queried over her double buggy about 20 minutes previously on the walk to the store also walked past us during this conversation and could see I was still at it.
The quest continues…

 

 

Preparing the toddler for a new baby

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

Here’s looking at you, kid

How can you prepare a toddler or older child for a major change to their environment, family, view of the world and their place within all of this?

 

So the new baby arrived about 4 weeks ago. My first born (21 months at time of arrival) appears to have taken this well. He has been quite interested in the baby and wants to give him lots of kisses. He has occasionally been a bit possessive over things such as the bouncy chair that we set up for the baby. The toddler did not want baby to sit in it at all and got quite upset. Well, I suppose the chair did actually belong to the toddler in the first instance! Anyway, this made me think about how we prepared the toddler for this massive change to his life – i.e. that he was not the only child and mummy and daddy would be giving time and attention to someone else.

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Before the new arrival:

We started talking about the baby long before he was due

  • We talked about “the baby” and what was in mummy’s tummy. Toddler often pointed to my tummy and referred to it as the baby. Maybe this change in narrative has set up something around there being something new coming.
  • During pregnancy I started to talk about being “careful” and “gentle” because the toddler was accustomed to climbing over me, being picked up, sitting on me etc. Initially I was feeding toddler (more of a baby earlier on in the pregnancy) and had to adopt different positions as the weight was too much across my stomach and also had to watch out for kicks or pushes to my stomach, so we have both been aware of the “carefulness”.
  • We’ve continued the gentle and carefulness now the new baby has arrived, but as discussed this has been set up now for some time so it’s part of our awareness and behaviour around “the baby”.

 

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - Useful books we read - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

Books we read to prepare toddler for the new arrival

We read books about becoming a big brother and new babies

  • Continuing with the narrative change idea we bought several books written especially for toddlers and young children about welcoming another child into the family. We read books every evening as part of the bedtime routine with the toddler and so it was normal for him to explore books. I’m not sure how much he took in or if he can relate the books to the situation he is now experiencing but i’m hoping:
    • 1) They started to introduce the idea of another child coming, that this is something that happens in families, normalizing the experience and,
    • 2) Gave examples/modelled what other children experienced during this time of change

 

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Once the baby was here:

Keeping the toddler’s routine and schedule the same as usual (or as close to)

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - keep things consistent - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

What happens next?

  • Consistency and predictability are important. Keeping things stable and “as normal” were important things for us to do with our toddler once the baby arrived. This meant keeping the same nap routine/times, bedtime and routine, meal times, etc so that the toddler could feel secure and stable in his usual day-to-day activities and that he didn’t experience everything as being “thrown upside down”.
  • If you can’t do practical/physical things as you would usually, social and emotional aspects are also important e.g. the conversations and interactions you have.

 

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

A new toy for the toddler

We bought a present to the toddler, “from” the new baby

We bought the toddler a present and we said it was from the baby. This had two benefits (or maybe more I haven’t thought about). First, it kept him busy and interested in something immediately after we got home with the baby and were slightly distracted by all things new baby related. Second, hopefully it meant that the toddler was being thought about, kept in mind, cared about and valued. Although, that said, I’m not sure what stage the 21 month old is at developmentally in terms of being aware of himself in other peoples’ minds, theory of mind, etc – but hopefully it meant something to him to receive a present.

 

I’ve spent one-to-one time with the toddler

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

One-to-one time together: out for chips

Whilst Daddy looks after the newborn for a few hours I’ve taken the toddler out to the playground, the shops, and other activities that we would normally do together (see above about keeping things familiar and consistent). I’ve also done this in the house by just going to play with him by myself while the newborn has a (long) nap and is watched over by Daddy.

 

We’ve shared some activities (toddler + baby)

  • Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

    Toddler involving the baby in his play

    We’ve shared the same play space and toddler has helped show interesting toys to the baby.
  • There’s not that much stuff the newborn can do, but tummy time is one of them. The toddler was very interested in the baby’s tummy time and wanted to practice “rolling over” too (not that the baby can do much of that at this stage!). So I put a blanket down on the floor for the toddler so he could practice rolling, along with the baby (while I made sure the toddler didn’t roll into the baby!).
Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

“Rolling over” together

Some thoughts a few months post baby:

Here’s some other things we did that I found useful when the “new” baby was a few months old:

 

Giving the toddler a role that involved him: this let me get stuff done around the house and hopefully gave the toddler a sense of importance, responsibility and attention:
  • e.g. helping with chores, fetching items (can you get me that nappy from the box), can you put this in the bin for me please? And thanking toddler for his help.
Actively and explicitly displaying to the toddler that sometimes they come first and attending to their needs:
  • e.g. saying things like “Ok baby, i’m going to change toddler’s nappy now and when i’ve finished then I can come to you”

 

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Future ideas:

Things I’m planning to do

  • Buy a double buggy or some system where I can take both of them out. The toddler and I go to different classes and meet with other parents and babies, so I feel it’s important to keep going with that and book us into a few things (we were doing football previously). BUT – I need to be able to get out of the house so double buggy shopping is on the agenda!
  • I have a baby carrier/sling but want a structured “clip and go” variety for ease. I’m feeling I’m going to be slinging the baby a lot, but I need to read reviews and see which one is good in terms of usability, ease and importantly keeping baby in a healthy position!

 

 

 

First day looking after the newborn baby and toddler by myself!

Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: what it was like and our schedule for the daySo my significant other went back to work today, meaning that I was all by myself looking after the newborn (less than 3 weeks old) and toddler (21 months).

 

I was unsure how it would go. If you’d asked me a few weeks ago what the day would look like I would have had no idea and probably thought I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. Fortunately it all went ok. There were a few “it never rains but it pours”… “you wait for a bus and then two come along at once” etc moments. Including, waiting in for the midwife to visit (who can come any time between 9-5) and another medical visit and then having them both turn up within a few minutes of each other. The midwife also brought a student midwife with her just to add to the party. I had the toddler (LL) in his highchair in the kitchen attempting to eat his lunch (which he refused to eat) and the baby resting in his chair so fortunately it all looked under control when the first visitor arrived. The house was a complete mess though and I was embarrassed; there was what looked like a pompom explosion in the living room from where LL was “playing” earlier (by playing I mean he threw pompoms everywhere). There was dirty laundry sitting on the floor outside the washing machine cupboard. There was washing drying in the bathroom. I had just managed to get dressed about half an hour before this so at least I wasn’t still in pyjamas but still looked a bit of a state (no makeup, brushed hair, brushed teeth etc of course). The midwife told me that I was doing well because sometimes people don’t managed to get dressed the first day they’re left alone with the baby.

 

Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: Toddler enjoys colouring & crayons activity

Toddler drawing and crayons activity

I had started to pencil out a schedule and was hoping to be all structured with planned toddler activities but hadn’t managed to get much of this in place. However, I did have a look through the toys and picked out some activities including colouring, reading and playing with cars. The final daily/weekly structure is yet to come. I’ve been going through Pinterest pins and relevant sites for toddler activities though and making notes and lists. I’ve ordered some bits and pieces from amazon and ebay including sticky backed velcro and contact paper (sticky back plastic) for certain activity ideas and printed off some free printable sheets including colour matching activities.

 

Anyways, here’s what we got up to today
  • 7:45am – wake-up and breakfast
  • feed the baby while toddler watches TV (*gasp* – yes we watched TV, especially useful when I need some time with the baby)
  • colouring books with toddler
  • playing with toy cars
  • mummy finally gets dressed, plan to make lunch for toddler
  • 12ish – health visitors all decide to turn up at once. Place is a state. I can’t find the baby’s health book that they need. I all of a sudden have 3 health professionals in my small living room, a toddler who won’t eat his lunch and a newborn that’s being poked at by at least one of the health professionals (and doesn’t appreciate it).
  • toddler is offered alternative lunch that he doesn’t really eat much of
  • nap time for toddler (post-lunch) which he resists for a long time but finally falls asleep following story books and a song
  • mummy eats her lunch and sorts out baby
  • Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: Out for a sensory nature walk with toddler & baby

    Out for a walk all together

    get us all ready to go out the house
  • 4pm – finally get out of the house using combination travel method of baby sling, pram and reins for toddler
  • plan to go to the park but toddler spends about 30 minutes picking up small stones and twigs on the walk there and enjoys tossing them off a small bridge into a stream below and refuses to stop doing this. I give in and just stand around waiting. Let’s call this a sensory nature walk!!
  • no time to go to park so walk back home, slowly, with toddler picking up multiple sticks, stones, conkers, etc
  • dinner time for toddler. Refuses his dinner. Baby crying for food. Try to satisfy both children at the same time. Toddler only wants to eat cream cheese for dinner. Tell him this is not acceptable
  • bath for toddler and bed – but significant other is now home and does this. Baby crying significantly. Has gas
  • toddler in bed. Parents eat dinner. Apple crumble and custard for pudding. Yum
My first day alone with the baby and toddler

Newborn baby first week – schedule and our typical day

Baby's first bath (1 week old) - Newborn baby schedule and typical day. baby-brain.co.ukNewborn baby first week – schedule and our typical day

It’s week one!! Baby is very cute, likes to sleep a lot and is picking up on his feeding. The toddler (LL) is learning to be “gentle” with the baby by touching him very softly. I’m not sure how he feels about the new addition. He is excited to see the baby but also has been a bit more mischievous and cheeky this week.

 

Here’s what we got up to the last few days:

 

Baby's first bath (1 week old) - Newborn baby schedule and typical day. baby-brain.co.uk

Baby’s first bath

♥ Had several naps, feeds, nappy changes, a few changes of clothes
♥ Face to face time, quick look at a high contrast flash card and a bit of time in his basket
♥ Visit from the community midwife (standard follow up) for weighing and check-in on any issues. Fortunately this all went fine. We had the heel-prick/newborn blood spot test, which baby did not like, but is standard and necessary for early detection of some rare health conditions
♥ Had our first bath. The midwife said to wait at least 5 days so we didn’t have one straight away. He seemed to enjoy the water. He went very calm and quiet once in there
♥ Attempted a minute of tummy time, but was bit more of him just lying on his front!
Tummy time - Newborn baby schedule and typical day. baby-brain.co.uk

Tummy Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking about getting ready for the new baby

I haven’t done anything yet. I need to plan and sort stuff out for the new arrival.

 

How I haven't prepared at all for the new arrival! Baby-Brain.co.uk

How I haven’t prepared at all

  • I need to buy some stuff
  • I need to pack a hospital bag. I need to find a bag in the first place and put stuff in it. Actually, I probably need to buy stuff to put in the bag too, like nappies, something to wear, umm, other stuff I’ve forgotten about
  • I need to dig out all the old baby clothes and wash them
  • I need to make a definite list and back up list of people that can come take care of the first child for when I have to go to hospital (added element to this pregnancy!)
  • I need to write a birth plan – or just use the same one as last time, or at least find the last one and actually read it
  • I need to get my whooping cough jab
  • I need to make a dentist appointment (it’s free for pregnant women and 1 year postnatal in the UK)
  • I need to refresh my memory on newborn issues and check out activity ideas again!

 

Stuff I need to (probably) buy.

A new changing mat. I’ve been using the last one for 19 months and it’s actually falling apart. A new baby monitor. A double buggy or maybe a baby sling to begin with. I have a sling but it’s the wrapping type and although this was nice, it is a bit fiddly and I found that if you tie it up too loose or “wrong” then there’s no saving it and you have to take it all off and wrap it on again. I’m not sure I have the ability to do that whilst attempting to calm one child and having a toddler screaming/running off/needing food/etc at the same time. Clip and go would be better. I probably need more baby bedding as current toddler is using all of the child sized blankets. I should probably buy the current toddler a gift and various things to please him as well.
So, a lot to do!

 

 

 

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